Human Rights Watch has reported that Islamic State fighters have taken 27 people as hostage primarily from the Druze community including 16 children aged between 7 and 15, in the Sweida desert in southern Syria.
It is stated by the locals that ISIL will use the hostages as leverage against the Syrian regime during negotiations with the government and Russia. HRW’s deputy Director of Middle-East has said that, “Civilians should not be used as bargaining chips, and ISIS should release all hostages immediately”.
The hostages were taken in late July attacks after killing of 57 people. One hostage, aged 19 had been beheaded as reported by the local media while another woman had died of mysterious conditions after few days.
Syrian regime forces backed by Russian air force have wrestled back control of the most of the Deraa province in less than 30 days. Government has also negotiated on many villages which were under rebel hands for restoration of governmental control there.